One of the most conventional eating norms in our culture is the habit of eating 3 meals a day. In the western world, most people are used to starting their day with breakfast. They later follow with lunch at midday, as well as with dinner late in the afternoon or sometime during the evening. The origins of the 3-meals-a-day structure actually date back to ancient times. The Ancient Romans were quite well-known for adopting this meal structure, which apparently was originally conceived to make sure that soldiers and workers were always energetic and well-fed before facing a hard day of work. Eventually, the Roman empire spread through such a large extent before collapsing, that the 3-meals-a-day approach became a true staple, which most of the world still follows to this day.
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Although having 3 meals a day is a widely established habit, fasting can actually have many intriguing benefits. Most people are becoming more and more aware of the perks of occasional fasting.
What is fasting, and what are its benefits?
“Fasting” refers to the practice of avoiding food for a given amount of time. Occasional fasting can provide a wide range of health benefits.
Keep reading to learn more about how to lose weight quickly with the following fasting hacks!
Do not fast to make up for a heavy meal.
Some people use fasting as a way to make up for a heavy meal from the previous day. This approach could actually be harmful because you’d be stressing and overworking your body in two different ways.
Overeating one day, and under-eating the next day is not a good way to fast. In other words, don’t expect to eat a whole Turkey, and go on a hunger strike the next day! This could harm your body and affect your metabolism in a negative way.
Fasting might work better if you actually eat a small amount of food.
Many people think that the best way to approach fasting is to skip food altogether. On the other hand, eating a small amount of food throughout your fasting day is actually a really good way to stimulate your metabolism.
While fasting, try to eat a really small amount of fresh foods, such as fruit or vegetables.
Preferably ones that are low on the glycemic index. Meaning contain low sugar. For instance, have a high protein egg breakfast with an avocado. A few hours later, have an afternoon snack with a piece of fruit such as a pear or apple. Not a banana which is quite high in sugar.
Eating very small amounts of food will actually stimulate your metabolism in the right way.
In addition to that, the small bites of fresh food will make you hungry, and you’ll be craving more food. Resist the impulse! Being hungry is a good sign because your metabolism is working correctly and burning through your calories.
During the fasting periods, you eat either very little or nothing at all.
These are the most popular methods:
- The 16/8 method: Also called the Leangains protocol, it involves skipping breakfast and restricting your daily eating period to 8 hours, such as 1–9 p.m. Then you fast for 16 hours in between.
- Eat-Stop-Eat: This involves fasting for 24 hours, once or twice a week, for example by not eating from dinner one day until dinner the next day.
- The 5:2 diet: With this methods, you consume only 500–600 calories on two non-consecutive days of the week, but eat normally the other 5 days.
If you have been fasting for over 10 hours and you aren’t experiencing hunger yet, it means that your metabolism is being very slow.
Below here’s a 1-day sample 16/8 fasting schedule to get started.
16/8 Fasting Schedule
- 7:00 am Wake up
- 7:30 am Lemon Water
- 8:00 am Skip Breakfast
- 12:00 pm Lunch
- 3:00 pm Snack
- 8:00 pm Dinner
- 9: 00 pm Fasting
Fast for 16 hours..
Do not overdo it.
If you want to attempt fasting, make sure that you take baby steps. Going “all out” with fasting can be harmful if your body is not used to it. Start by avoiding lunch.
The best way to get used to fasting is to start with a high protein, nutritious breakfast and top your day with a dinner later in the afternoon.
The key is the make sure that you are not gorging yourself with the WRONG foods during this dinner however.
If you need to work throughout the day and you feel like you need more focus and energy, you can have a substantial breakfast and a light lunch, skipping dinner instead.
Many people find the 16/8 method to be the simplest, most sustainable and easiest to stick to. It’s also the most popular.
Think about what you eat, not just about when you eat.
Many people seem to misunderstand what fasting is all about. They think that they can detox with fasting for a day, and indulge in all manners of unhealthy food the next. It is not really how it works! You should think about your nutritional habits as something that has a long-term impact on your health.
Consider limiting the amounts of processed foods you eat and value a more balanced diet. It also helps to adopt a diverse approach to nutrition. Most people aren’t able to go through a day without meat. On the other hand, it can be helpful to try and limit your meat, dairy and fish consumption to just about 4-5 days a week.
If you decide to fast one or two days throughout your week, make sure to eat small amounts of low glycemic fruits and vegetables. These foods don’t offer a huge calorie count and they are low in saturated fats. On the other hand, they are fiber-rich, and they have plenty of vitamins and minerals, which are helpful to get you through the day.
Here are some changes that occur in your body when you fast:
- Human Growth Hormone (HGH): The levels of growth hormone skyrocket, increasing as much as 5-fold.
- Insulin: Insulin sensitivity improves and levels of insulin drop dramatically. Lower insulin levels make stored body fat more accessible.
- Cellular repair: When fasted, your cells initiate cellular repair processes. This includes autophagy, where cells digest and remove old and dysfunctional proteins that build up inside cells.
- Gene expression: There are changes in the function of genes related to longevity and protection against disease. – Resource Healthline.com
16/8 Intermittent Fasting Meal Plan
- Meal #1: Tuna avocado salad wrap
- Snack #2: Hummus and raw veggie sticks
- Meal #3: Asian fried “noodles”
- Meal #1: Sprouts, chicken, quinoa Buddha bowl
- Snack #2: Greek yogurt
- Meal #3: Teriyaki chicken with cauliflower rice
Learn more about the Fasting Mimicking Diet
Take Home Message
If you’re thinking of trying intermittent fasting, the 16/8 fasting is the easiest to do and stick to.
It involves eating only during an 8-hour period and fasting for the remaining 16 hours.
Also if you’re trying to lose weight, intermittent fasting is said to aid and foster weight loss. This is without counting calories and following a specific meal plan.
It may also improve blood sugar, better brain function, and longevity.
Before you start, discuss with your doctor to see if intermi
Consult your nutritionist.
If you are unsure about whether fasting could be a good option for you, it might be beneficial to ask your nutritionist’s opinion. Fasting is not right for everyone. If you have health issues, debilitating chronic diseases, and other conditions, you should always seek a professional opinion before you start fasting.
In much the same way, fasting is generally not recommended to children, seniors, and pregnant women so always check with your doctor first before starting any new diet or weight loss program.
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